John Proctor: A Tragic Hero Arthur Miller was an American playwright and essayist in the twentieth century. One of his most famous works is “Tragedy and the Common Man”, written in 1949. In his essay, Miller makes a strong point regarding the common man’s appropriateness for tragedies. Another of Miller’s works is The Crucible, written in 1952. The play was written in response to the McCarthy hearings in the 1950s. It was focused on the inconsistencies of the Salem witch trials. When characterizing a tragic hero, Aristotle writes “A man doesn’t become a hero until he can see the root of his own downfall.” To be classified as a tragic hero, one must be born of nobility, possess a tragic flaw, tempt fate, have a moment of realization, have a …show more content…
However, as the play begins, the audience learns that Proctor has a compelling secret; he had an affair with a young girl by the name of Abigail Williams, who is the Reverend’s niece. Abigail is a stubborn girl and does not believe that Proctor has disposed of all his feelings for her. In response to this, Abigail engages in witchcraft with a few other girls to try and kill Proctor’s wife Elizabeth. As the town uncovers the shenanigans the girls are playing, they start to cry out the names of others who they have allegedly seen with the Devil in order to save themselves from punishment. As a result, the audience perceives that Proctor and Abigail’s affair is the reason for all of the hysteria surrounding the witch trials, suggesting the consequences of human …show more content…
However, Miller believes “...the common man is as apt a subject for tragedy in its highest sense as kings were.” (Miller, “Tragedy”, 2). Miller states, “...the tragic feeling is evoked in us when we are in the presence of a character who is ready to lay down his life… to secure one thing--his sense of personal dignity.” (Miller, “Tragedy”, 4). “The flaw… is really nothing… but his inherent unwillingness to remain passive in the face of what he conceives to be a challenge to his dignity...” (Miller, “Tragedy”, 6).
The reason that there is such an absence of tragedies to this day, is that “...the turn which modern literature has taken toward the purely psychiatric view of life, or the purely sociological.” (Miller, “Tragedy”, 13). With so much thinking and analyzing involved, no one can really enjoy a play for what it is--pure entertainment. By constantly trying to figure out an inference for why something happened, the audience can no longer accept tragic action. This, along with societal belief that for a protagonist to be identified as a character he must be faultless, has made tragedy almost
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The Crucible by Arthur Miller is set in Salem in a Puritan community, John Proctor is the tragic hero because he is loving, loyal, authoritative, but his tragic flaw is his temper. The most well known definition of a tragic hero comes from Aristotle who was a great philosopher . When describing a tragic hero, he states "The change in the hero's fortunes be not from misery to happiness, but on the contrary, from happiness to misery, and the cause of it must not lie in any depravity but in some great error on his part. "He also explains the four essential qualities that a tragic hero should have, which are appropriateness, goodness,consistency, and lifelike. These necessities help, classify the character of John Proctor in Arthur Miller's play The Crucible as the tragic hero.
Was John Proctor a Tragic Hero? Arthur Miller's play "The Crucible" is a powerful exploration of the Salem witch trials of 1692, in which innocent people were accused of witchcraft and sentenced to death. One of the central characters in the play is John Proctor, a farmer who is caught up in the hysteria and ultimately faces his own downfall. This essay will argue that John Proctor is a tragic hero, using the elements of tragedy and Aristotle's definition of a tragic hero to support this claim.
John Proctor was the best example of a tragic hero in the play The Crucible by Arthur Miller. John Proctor had many qualities of being a tragic hero. He was a intelligent and well respected guy in the community of Salem, Massachusetts. Another quality was how he had many flaws but he redeems himself. At the end, John Proctor had a major downfall and a tragedy that led to his death.
The Crucible by Arthur Miller, is known for its critique of our society through irony and literary techniques such as foils or tragic heroes. A tragic hero is considered to be an individual who is well respected, but makes a mistake that ruins their stature or personal well-being. Another characteristic of a tragic hero is a life ending with an untimely, yet still often brave death. In The Crucible, Arthur Miller utilizes John proctor as a tragic hero to show the hypocrisy of society through his fall into adultery, his fight to regain the trust of his wife and others around him, and his tragic yet heroic death. John Proctors fall into adultery shows his human nature, and its tendency to make many mistakes in one’s lifetime.
According to Aristotle, “A man doesn’t become a hero until he can see the root of his own downfall.” Arthur Miller’s play The Crucible, written about the Salem Witch trials, presents itself as an allegory for McCarthyism. In this work, protagonist John Proctor is the tragic hero of the play. John most clearly fits the mold of a tragic hero in the play based on his effort to save his wife, his change of character, and his pride that not only lead him to his death, but to a sacrifice for Salem. To begin, John went to extensive lengths to try and help save his wife, Elizabeth Proctor, who was accused of witchcraft and ultimately imprisoned.
Miller's action to write The Crucible leads him to be similar to John Proctor. Knowing that he could get in trouble for writing this play could land him the same punishment during the trials, he moves forward with it anyway. None-the-less Miller succeeds in writing a successful play that mentally communicates with the communities and how they respond when faced with fear. Arthur Miller reminds us we should always take a second look when attempting to cooperate with existing current power and act with good moral and
The Salem Witch Trials in 1692 was a real life example of mass hysteria that lead to many people being paranoid and making false accusations towards others. Arthur Miller used the Witch Trials as the basis for his play because it was a fantastic reflection of what Mccarthyism had done to the United States in the 50’s. To enhance his satire Arthur Miller used traditional theater methods, one of the examples of this was his use of a tragic hero. A great example of a tragic hero in The Crucible would be one of the main characters John Proctor. John Proctor is a tragic hero because he is an important player in the village of Salem, he has an affair with Abigail Williams, has a great amount of pride, and in the end he dies.
John Proctor was the tragic hero of the crucible. The four essential qualities that a tragic hero should possess are goodness, appropriateness, lifelike, and consistency. All of these characteristics help to prove that John Proctor is the tragic hero of the play. John Proctor is a farmer that is honest and respectable living in a Puritan town with a wife and three children. Johns biggest flaw that lead to his demise was his love for Abigail Williams.
The development of the character John Proctor throughout Arthur Miller’s The Crucible helps to progress the themes of good versus evil, and reputation. This character is the main stressor in both themes in both the beginning and conclusion of the play. Proctor while not innocent himself, leads the themes centered around the respectable against the immoral, as well as the faithful against the perceived evil. Through trials and suffering, Proctor moral yet also immoral, is faced with immense difficulties.
The Crucible by Arthur Miller, follows Proctor and his story which begins and end with these two events. Proctor is the main protagonist in the play and is a unique character. He has a round and dynamic personality as he goes through the various conflicts in the play. John Proctor’s character is interesting and complex, yet everything about his is revealed as the play progresses. In the beginning Proctor is said to have had an affair
In the play The Crucible by Arthur Miller, the town of Salem is afflicted with hysteria, intolerance, and accusations that lead to death. According to philosopher Aristotle, a tragic hero possesses a tragic flaw, excessive pride, and an inevitable downfall. Protagonist John Proctor illustrates a tragic hero because he is presented as happy, powerful, and privileged, which later leads him to suffer because of his own actions. First of all, John Proctor possesses a fatal flaw, pride, which is a characteristic of a tragic hero. Proctor’s fatal flaws includes honesty and pride.
In the beginning of the play, the readers find out that Proctor, in his mid thirties, cheats on his wife and had an affair with a 17 year old character, Abigail Williams. Due to John Proctor’s pride he doesn’t confess in court after Abigail’s first accusations
The one person who could have stopped the Salem Witch Trials was none other than a tragic hero. Aristotle developed the idea of a tragic hero in a story. This person was someone who was an exceptional person, they were quite prideful, and by the end they must die. In the play The Crucible by Arthur Miller, John Proctor is a tragic hero. He is an exceptional man with lust as a fatal error, he takes pride in his name, and by the end he dies and repents.
A tragic hero, according to Aristotle, is usually noble by birth, has hamaria, has peripeteia, his actions usually result in self awareness, and the audience feels pity or fear for him. A more modern tragic hero would be a man of noble stature or is extraordinary, good but not too good, his destruction proves a point, and his downfall is his own fault but also his own choice. In Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, the protagonist,